A cult film (also known as a cult movie/picture or a cult classic) is a film that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans. Often, cult movies have failed to achieve fame outside the small fanbases; however, there have been exceptions that have managed to gain fame among mainstream audiences. Many cult movies have gone on to transcend their original cult status and have become recognized as classics; others are of the “so bad it’s good” variety and are destined to remain in obscurity.
Cult films often become the source of a thriving, obsessive, and elaborate subculture of fandom, hence the analogy to cults. However, not every film with a devoted fanbase is necessarily a cult film. Usually, cult films have limited but very special, noted appeal. Cult films are often known to be eccentric, often do not follow traditional standards of mainstream cinema and usually explore topics not considered in any way mainstream—yet there are examples that are relatively normal. Many are often considered controversial because they step outside standard narrative and technical conventions.